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Containers are stacked on a ship at the Port of Halifax in this photo from 2007. ‘It’s interesting that the distance between the east coast of Canada and the west coast of India is closer than moving from the west coast of Canada to India,’ Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said Tuesday.

Paul Darrow/The Globe and Mail

If it's Friday, it must be India.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver heads to India at the end of this week, aiming to drum up interest in Canada's rich energy supplies.

It follows on the heels of a trip last month to South Korea and Japan, and two prior visits by the minister to China.

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The pending trip comes as Canada and India aim to triple bilateral trade within the next decade. Canada has held five rounds of free-trade agreement talks with India.

Mr. Oliver – and other Canadian officials – are keenly aware that demand for energy in Asia's third-largest economy will surge in the coming decades.

"There's an enormous potential for us to really, not just move ahead in a slow, steady way, but fairly dramatically increase our commercial relationship with a country we're extremely friendly with," Mr. Oliver told reporters during an event organized by the International Economic Forum of the Americas.

"You have a rapidly growing country, large, with the need to import energy and other resources," he said.

His main aim: to let Indian officials know that Canada is a "reliable" source of energy, and "understand better India's needs in areas where Canada can be helpful."

And while much attention has been spent on moving Canada's oil and gas west, towards China, far less has been paid to the Atlantic Gateway.

"It's interesting that the distance between the east coast of Canada and the west coast of India is closer than moving from the west coast of Canada to India," Mr. Oliver said.

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He made it clear that his government wants to see energy exports flow to all directions. "I'd like to see our energy exports move south, west and east – in all directions – because we have so much."

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About the Author

Tavia Grant has worked at The Globe and Mail since early 2005, covering topics from employment and currency markets to trade, microfinance and Latin American economies. She previously worked for Bloomberg News in Toronto and Zurich, writing on mining, stocks, currencies and secret Swiss bank accounts. More


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